November 3, 2011

A Personal Account: Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy Training.

My oh my, where to begin? I have just emerged from a Level 1 training at Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy in Bristol, Vermont. It has been an incredible and difficult to describe experience. Much of this work has to do with the process behind it and not the content. A training manual or book can’t truly impart the experience and perhaps that is why finding the words is difficult. I came to Bristol unsure of what to expect and certainly got more than I ever bargained for.

My true training for PRYT began several months ago when I signed up for a Level 1 training with the intention of coming in August. It ended up being the wrong timing for it and I choose to postpone my studies. On a whim I re-registered for this late October training and found myself here.My travels began on Friday when I was getting ready to walk out the door to the airport and received a call that my flight was rescheduled for an hour later and my connecting flight was going to be changed as well. This usually would have stirred up a lot of aggravation; I was going to miss the opening evening of training and everything was going to be thrown off, out of balance. Instead I choose to breath. This was ok, it was how it was meant to be. I choose to put this training in the midst of hectic things in life: a new job, lots of teaching, graphic design classes and a bookend of weekends away from home, not to mention an unplanned for and exciting new development in my personal life! I had let the universe know I wanted to step away from my usual iron-grip of control and it was giving it to me with a little added bonus!

I arrived in Bristol in the early evening to be greeted by a quiet airport and the host family I was staying with. Bristol is a very small town and doesn’t have any hotels or places to stay aside from a few bed and breakfasts. PRYT has arrangements with local families to offer housing and I choose a couple, who live about a mile from the training center and offered a cozy room, private bath, kitchen access, two cats and a dinner one night with them.  I immediately felt at home with them and I never felt as if I was imposing. They offered up their home, hearts and company to me and it truly felt like staying with close friends!

My day on Saturday began early with yoga and meeting the nine others who were in the training as well as Renee, our assistant, and Jen, our facilitator. As often happens in these situations I felt as if I had known these individuals for a long time and each was familiar in their own way. Our trainings began each morning with a short meditation and were followed by exploring where each of us were that day. After a short break we typically watched a technical demo of a posture which was followed by both giving and receiving of the postures. The afternoons were spent in various modalities, either learning dialogue techniques or diving further into the postures and the combination of both dialogue and body work.

So what really is Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy? A complex yet amazingly simple way of combing both the wisdom of yoga and the science of psychotherapy. An acceleration of what can be gained by years on the mat and intense self-study, amplified in an incredible way, only safe because of the professionalism and energy of the practitioner. The memories of the body, physical, emotional and spiritual are held all throughout the body, in the fascia and in every cell. By going inward and exploring what resides in each area we are able to remap and discover, leading to growth, change and wisdom.

I found myself in an interesting place through the training, with not a lot coming up. I’ve spent many days and hours in therapy, both group and individual and have sorted through a lot of stuff over the years. When I was able to settle enough I found the silence to look within and I didn’t see darkness.  Instead I saw things clearly, drawing up imagery of the sun reflecting on a lake with a tree off to the left and perhaps some mountains in the distance. I’m not sure why I was expecting to see something more, habit perhaps?

I reflect back to a year ago when I began to study yoga in a more serious way and remember the pain of sitting for long hours in trainings and the immediate energy this evoked in my hips. Deep pain that was only released through movement. Now a year later, this pain is gone, coming from I believe the release of emotional energies. Perhaps I was working on my own body memories without knowing it and subconsciously moving towards this work.

One of my discoveries in the training these past few days was that I really am ready to take the next step towards helping others. Despite always wanting to help others I never in my wildest dreams imagined I would actually be in a position to do so. I’ve come to the realization that I may actually be at that point, an exciting and yet scary discovery. Letting go of the past and all its implications and moving forward, not to the future, but to being in the present. The now. I feel ready to bear witness to others in their struggles, to help facilitate the process without any agenda of where that process is leading, but instead focus on the cultivation of an authentic and healing energy.

As I sit on the plane writing this and move towards the return to my life in Columbus, I feel the strong energies of change swirling around me. I felt this strongly yesterday morning during our yoga practice where we spent the entire time looking inward and keeping our eyes closed, almost has if there was the energy of a hand pushing me in some direction. I’m choosing to site with that feeling, explore it and move as I see fit, listening to my heart in what lies ahead.

Photo Credits: intentbodywork.com, Hannah Siegle

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